Driver: 1st diverging diamond in MI ‘smooth’

Diverging diamond interchange in Auburn Hills. (Courtesy MDOT/ Nov. 19, 2015)


DETROIT (WOOD) — Many drivers are not familiar with the diverging diamond interchange (DDI) which is currently under construction at I-96 and Cascade Road.

“It’s a new look, drivers aren’t very familiar with a DDI much like a roundabout. But really the studies have shown that navigating a DDI really is no big deal, you just have to follow the roadway and follow the signs,” said Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson John Richard.

Traffic will be funneled to the wrong side of the road all the way across the bridge so it won’t have to wait to turn left onto the highway. MDOT says it’s meant to unclog rush-hour backups that sometimes stretch for blocks on Cascade Road.

LEFT: The current Cascade Road and I-96 interchange. RIGHT: The future Cascade Road and I-96 interchange. (Courtesy of the Michigan Department of Transportation)
(LEFT: The current Cascade Road and I-96 interchange. RIGHT: The future Cascade Road and I-96 interchange. (Courtesy of the Michigan Department of Transportation)

The Cascade Road project will be the second to be built in Michigan; the first one opened last week in Auburn Hills near Detroit.

“I was initially a little nervous to take that exit because I didn’t know how it was going to be. I thought I was going to get lost with everything, but once I got through it, it was so smooth,” said driver Emily Cumbee.

Cumbee says the traffic used to be very congested in that area, but the diverging diamond interchange has helped keep everything moving.

“I love it, it was wonderful,” said Cumbee.

Although it’s expected to help unclog traffic at Cascade Road, MDOT says the biggest reason for a diverging diamond interchange is safety. The redesign will lower the number of spots where potential crashes could happen from 26 spots to 14.

MDOT also says the Cascade Road bridge was built in 1961 and is crumbling.

Construction at I-96 and Cascade Road is about 25 percent finished and is expected to open in about a year.

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